Heating contractor in the Twin Cities
October 16, 2013 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Who is the absolute best heating contractor in the Twin Cities?

I have a cracked heat exchanger in my gas forced-air furnace, which apparently means I need a new furnace right away. (It's repairable, but only for $1000 or more.)

I'm pretty annoyed because the furnace is only 9 years old -- apparently this can happen if the installers don't do a great installation job and the furnace doesn't get good airflow. But there's no way to guarantee that a new installer won't make the same mistake as the last. I really do not want to replace the furnace again in a couple of years.

The only quote I have so far is for $5,300, which does seem like it's on the high side for a totally normal installation, but who knows. I'm worried sales people will try to scam me because they know winter's coming and I don't have any heat now.

So who is the absolute best heating contractor in the Twin Cities area? How do I get a good deal and know that they're doing a decent job?
posted by miyabo to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Just get more quotes. They're all scam artists to some degree, you just have to find the cheapest one.

MINNESOTA HEATING AND PLUMBING in Shakopee has always given me good deals. But I'm sure if I shopped around I'd find someone cheaper.
posted by shipbreaker at 9:43 AM on October 16, 2013

Keep in mind, that you don't have to limit your selection to "Minneapolis", definitely not. Look at all the outer suburbs, go out far but perhaps not as far as Red Wing or Bemidji. They all have white minivans, and they are all used to driving 45 minutes out to get to a job site. Some will try to charge you for the 45-minute drives to the job sites. THOSE GUYS are the scam artists, if they want to add on a "trip charge", you don't want them.
posted by shipbreaker at 9:45 AM on October 16, 2013

I've used both Bonfe and Minneapolis St. Paul Heating, Plumbing & Air in the past. Both have good reputations and provide honest work, but no one will call them cheap.
posted by lstanley at 9:45 AM on October 16, 2013

We had the exact same situation last Fall, in south Mpls. Cracked exchanger. Furnace refused to kick on any more, due to potential carbon monoxide issues. We had a new Bryant 95% furnace installed for pretty cheap (~$3k). Work was done by Paul at 7 Metro. Our furnace was old, and the new one has been great (disregarding one minor issue with an accessory water pump, a minor water leak that was promptly addressed by the installer).

The biggest issue you'll find with looking outside of the Twin Cities is that from what we discovered last year, Minneapolis at least (not sure about St. Paul) has licensing requirements that make it hard for companies from outlying areas to work in the Cities. We had tried contacting a guy at Elk River Heating but he said he wasn't licensed to work in Minneapolis.

Some other considerations: Is your furnace near an outside wall? Not sure how your old furnace is set up, but the new 90%+ furnaces require access for external air exchange. If you have a centrally located furnace, running the PVC to an external wall might increase the costs, especially if it means running pipe through a finished section of basement. You'll also need to have a way for condensation to be pumped into a drain, because the newer furnaces generate a lot of moisture. We were lucky, furnace room was at the edge of the basement, and there was clearance in the ceiling to run the water drain line.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:54 AM on October 16, 2013

We got quotes from a bunch of well rated places on Angie's List and went with Standard Heating and Air. Dave gave us a solid middle of the pack quote and helped us understand our other quotes and why some of them didn't make any sense for us. Super great experience with the quote process.

Installation was also great. They were prompt and did great work. Cleaned up nicely when they were done and did a great job walking us through everything we cared to know about the whole system.
posted by advicepig at 11:18 AM on October 16, 2013

We got our last furnace from Standard Heating and Air Conditioning. Their bid was competitive, they had good ratings on Angie's List, and they've been around forever.
posted by Area Man at 12:16 PM on October 16, 2013

Response by poster: After getting a bunch of quotes I went with Bonfe Heating. They sold me a 96 percent efficient, two stage Amana/Goodman furnace for $3400. I'm not a furnace expert obviously but it seems to work and the price was good.
posted by miyabo at 12:55 PM on October 22, 2013

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